I’m of the belief that heading into the outdoors is a relatively safe thing to do.
It can be an experience that changes your outlook on life or can be used as a means of getting you out of the house more often.
In saying that, just as the outdoors can be a fun and rewarding experience, it can be equally as dangerous.
But only if you don’t come prepared.
It’s a message I’m big on, but unfortunately, it’s something I don’t think is being talked about enough.
There are so many instances, regardless of the severity, where people have underestimated what they are getting themselves into.
It can be as significant as misjudging the conditions and having to be rescued by the SES or whatever your local search and rescue organisation might be.
Or something as simple, yet important, as not bringing enough, or any, water whatsoever.
My friends, this blog and the things I talk about in it, is very much to showcase what the outdoors can potentially do for you across a number of aspects of your life.
But this can only be achieved with adequate preparation and a high level of common sense.
A recent example where common sense was clearly lacking was when I hiked the Tree Fern Gully Trail with our MeetUp group recently in Marysville.
The conditions that day were quite hot and most of the trail, particularly towards the falls, was fairly exposed.
After reaching the top of Steavensons Falls, and then making our way down, our group came across a mother and her two daughters sitting on the side of the track.
One of the daughters was clearly distressed as she was struggling to catch her breath and was pale white from heat exposure.
Upon offering her some water, the mother conceded to us that she hadn’t brought any with her because ‘I didn’t think we’d need any up here’.
As a parent myself, I will never tell anyone how to parent their own children, but her decision not to bring water was incredibly irresponsible.
Now, in saying all of this, I am an advocate for making mistakes whilst in the outdoors as I believe it influences what you will, or won’t, do in the future.
However, this incident, and many others I have come across, was nothing but poor planning and lack of understanding of the conditions.
So, how can this mentality be turned around? How can it be changed for the better?
By everyone doing their bit. And by everyone I mean bloggers, governing bodies, tourism companies etc.
If you’re out on the track this weekend, and you see someone who is clearly not prepared, tell them so.
I appreciate that there are some people who let their pride get in the way of their own safety and well-being.
I also appreciate that explaining to a complete stranger that they aren’t adequately equipped for a particular hike can be an awkward thing to do.
But think about this – if that conversation prevents dehydration, being rescued by the SES or, worse, death, isn’t it worth having?